South Sound Dental Care provides a wide range of dental services and typically we are able to provide every type of dental service at our office without having to refer you to other specialties. Our focus is on total preventative care for our patients. This includes regular teeth cleaning appointments, check-ups, and at home oral health routines.
We also offer services to restore mouths that have been damaged by dental disease, injury, and common problems that require cosmetic dentistry. With the advanced techniques and technologies we use, along with regularly scheduled dental exams, our patients are able to achieve optimum oral health.
Teeth cleanings should be scheduled with our office twice a year. While you’re hear on this visit, our dental hygienist will remove plaque from your teeth, especially where brushing can’t reach such as underneath the gum and in between teeth. After the cleaning is complete we apply fluoride to help protect your teeth once you leave the office.
Fluoride is a relatively recent but important advancement in dental health. Research shows that a moderate and consistent exposure to fluoride helps to strengthen and rebuild tooth structure and helps in preventing cavities.
Q. How often do I need to get my teeth cleaned?
A. Teeth cleanings are generally scheduled and recommended every 6 months. However, your hygienist may suggest cleanings every 3 to 4 months depending on the condition of your gums.
To treat a cavity the dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth and then replaces the damaged tooth structure with a material. We replace old and often broken down amalgam/metal filings that contain mercury with white fillings (composites) to restore your smile and teeth to a more natural look and feel.
Today’s advancements with filling material eliminate the embarrassment of unattractive and unhealthy silver/mercury fillings or metal margins of the past. We are able to replace the dark, black appearance in your teeth with new-age, state-of-the-art, tooth-colored resin or porcelain materials.
Q. When is a filling needed?
A. Only your dentist can determine whether you have a cavity that needs a filling. This will depend on the extent of damage caused by decay. A filling with restore a damaged tooth back to normal function and will prevent further decay.
CROWNS AND BRIDGES
Let us help you get your best natural smile with a crown that is perfect in color, shape, and size. Give us a call today or fill out our convenient contact form! Don’t forget to check out our new patient special offers as well.
Q. What is a crown?
A. A dental crown is a custom-made tooth shaped covering that covers the original tooth that is decayed, damaged, or cracked. Crowns are made of a variety of different materials such as porcelain, gold, acrylic resin, or a mix of these materials. While porcelain has the most natural appearance it is often less durable.
Q. What is the process if I need a crown?
- A. The process looks like this:
- – We will numb the tooth to remove the decay.
- – The tooth will be re-sculpted to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
- – We will make an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made crown (this usually takes one to two weeks).
- – A temporary crown made of acrylic resin will be fitted onto the tooth during the interim period when the custom-made crown is being created.
- – On your next visit we will apply the custom-made crown by removing the temporary crown and fitting the custom made one onto the tooth.
- – After we determine that the crown has the proper fit and look, the dentist will cement it into place.
The entire process consists of at least two to three visits over a three to four week period. Once the procedure is completed, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is required to maintain healthy, bacteria-free teeth, gums and crowns. This help to prevent gum disease. With proper care, your crown can last a lifetime.
Q. I have a missing tooth, what are my options?
A. Traditional bridgework is often the go-to solution for missing teeth. Read on to learn more about bridges. However, the important first step is to set up an appointment to thoroughly discuss all options with your dentist.
A dental bridge is a device that “bridges” the space created by one or more missing teeth. Times when bridges may be necessary:
- To prevent shifting of the teeth that can lead to bite problems and/or jaw problems that can possibly result in periodontal disease.
- Bridges also safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help to maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.
Types of bridges:
- Fixed Bridge – This is the most popular type of dental bridge and consists of a filler tooth that is attached to two crowns, which fit over the existing teeth and hold the bridge in place.
- The “Maryland” Bridge – This type of bridge is commonly used to replace missing front teeth and consists of filler that is attached to metal bands that are bonded to the abutment teeth. The metal bands are made of a white-colored resin that matches existing teeth.
- The Cantilever Bridge – This type is often used when there are teeth on only one side of the span. A typical three-unit cantilever bridge is made up of two crowned teeth positioned next to each other on the same side of the missing tooth space. The filler tooth is then connected to the two crowned teeth, which extend into the missing tooth space or end.
Q. When is a root canal needed?
A. A root canal (or endodontics) procedure becomes necessary when a tooth becomes infected and has badly decayed. The procedure (see below) extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal, and replaces it with strengthening filler.
When a cavity is allowed to sit for too long, extensive damage to the tooth structure could occur. This happens when the decay goes deeper into the tooth, and when this damage goes beyond what can be treated by a filling. This is when dentists have the option to perform a root canal. Root canals help to retain the original integrity of the tooth.
Learn more about root canals here.
- Patient undergoes anesthesia.
- A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth.
- The tooth is opened so that the infected or dead pulp can be removed.
- The tooth is thoroughly cleaned.
- The doctor uses special tools to reshape the canals.
- The tooth is filled with biocompatible filling material.
- A temporary covering is used to cover the access opening.
- Patients MUST see their regular dentist quickly for a permanent restoration of the tooth.
An extraction is the complete removal of a tooth. They are sometimes necessary if a primary tooth is preventing the normal eruption of a permanent tooth, if the tooth has suffered considerable decay or trauma that cannot be repaired, due to gum disease, or if the tooth is impacted. Depending on the complexity of the case, an extraction can be performed surgically or non-surgically. A mild anesthesia is used to ensure comfort throughout the procedure.
Your third molars are usually referred to as “wisdom teeth.” They appear in the late teens to early twenties and often lack the proper space in the jaw to erupt fully or even at all. This common condition is called impaction. When a tooth lacks the space to come in or if it develops in the wrong place, problems can arise. Primarily, damage to adjacent teeth and crowding occur.
There are cases when the wisdom tooth that cannot come through becomes inflamed under the gums and in the jawbone, causing a sac to develop around the root of the tooth that then fills with liquid. This can cause a cyst or an abscess if it becomes infected. Both of these situations require treatment because serious damage to the underlying bone and surrounding teeth and tissues can result if not treated properly.
To potentially prevent this result, an extraction of one or all of the wisdom teeth may be advised. If this is the case, we have the equipment and training to perform the extractions with a minimum of discomfort for the patient. Ask us about more information if you feel that you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed.
Q. What is the recovery time from an extraction?
A. It typically takes gum tissue 3-4 weeks to heal. Pain should lessen by the second day and in most cases over-the-counter pain relief is enough to relieve any discomfort. Of course pain and healing time will vary from person to person. Our office can provide a note for work if needed.